The Loudoun County government has ended its contract with the company building the Kirkpatrick Fire and Rescue Station, leaving no clear picture for when it will open—even though construction of the building is nearly complete.
Director of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure Joe Kroboth told the Board of Supervisors’ finance committee July 10 that the contract, which was originally scheduled to wrap up in winter 2017, had been terminated in June. Quarterly county construction reports show the contractor, Warner Construction, in delay since the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2018, which covers October through December of 2017.
In April, the county transportation staff reported that the contractor was still in delay, that notice had been sent to the contractor about potentially terminating the contract, and that county representatives had met with the contractor. At this month’s quarterly update, staff members reported the project remained in delay and, after a multi-departmental review, the contract was terminated.
That report also showed that construction on the facility is 95 percent complete. After that work is complete, the building needs only furniture and equipment.
Fire-Rescue Chief Keith Johnson said his department has already hired the 35 people who will staff the station, but the department already has about that many vacancies elsewhere where they can fill in. They will be transferred in when Kirkpatrick opens.
Warner started construction in August 2016, with a $120,000 incentive to have the station done in November 2017 to be ready in time to welcome the new staff. Kroboth said his staff locked up the site and its working with other contractors to find a new contract. That is estimated to set the project back another half a year. Construction is now estimated to wrap up in winter of 2019, although there is no firm schedule.
The delay also will likely push up the project’s $13.4 million cost.
County Attorney Leo Rogers declined to comment, saying the dispute is likely to end in a lawsuit. The county’s position, he said, is that the construction is behind schedule and not of acceptable quality. More than half of the project’s budget has already been disbursed to the company, he said, however there is enough money held in reserve to repair and complete the building.
Kroboth told the finance committee that county staff members are scheduling a closed-door meeting with the full Board of Supervisors.
The Kirkpatrick Fire and Rescue station is planned as an 18,000-square-foot facility on five acres at the corner of Braddock Road and Loudoun County Parkway.